Monday, February 28, 2011

Tree Tubes keep deer from eating "perfect tree food" until it's time!

Wouldn't it be great if deer simply understand that if they left your seedling trees alone for a few years, those trees would grow up to produce more fruit, acorns and nuts than they could possibly eat?  I was going to say, wouldn't be great if deer were smarter, but then I realized that I'm not much smarter than a deer (if at all).  When  my mom baked a cake I was always trying to steal a bite and then hide it with the icing, but she's catch me and not give me a piece for dessert - just like how the deer who eats the seedling doesn't get a mature pear or plum or apple or Chinese chestnut tree producing fruit for "dessert."

What would you call a tree that a) produces fruit that ripen over an extended period of time in the fall, b) holds it fruit even into the early winter, and c) grows across a wide geographic range?  Hunters would call it the perfect tree.  Deer would call it ambrosia, food of the gods.  Foresters simply call it: persimmon.  There is a reason that so many deer attractants and baits are persimmon flavored or scented!

As much as deer love persimmons, they love newly planted persimmon seedlings just as much.  Since they - like me and that cake - don't understand (or as in my case choose to ignore) the consequences of eating the seedlings, you as a tree planter need to protect them with Tree Tubes.  The good news is that persimmons, both American (Diospyrus virginiana) and Japanese (Diospyrus kaki) persimmons grow extremely well in Wilson Tree Tubes.

Speaking of the two different species of persimmons - and there a many different varieties within each species - a couple of notes:

1) I would highly recommend planting some of both species.  American persimmons tend to ripen earlier in the fall.  They are more astringent, and aren't at all edible - even for deer - until they are fully ripe.  Japanese persimmons, on average, ripen later in the fall, and are much less astringent.  They often hold their fruit well into the early winter.

2) Two great sources for persimmon trees are:

> The Wildlife Group Nursery in Tuskegee, AL

> Mossy Oak's Nativ Nurseries in West Point, MS

In both cases you can order your tree tubes directly from the nursery to ship with your trees, or if you're picking up trees at the nurseries you can pick your tree tubes up than and same the shipping costs!

No matter if you're planting American or Japanese, buying your trees from Wildlife Group of Nativ Nurseries, or getting your tree tubes from the nursery or from Wilson Forestry Supply, you can't go wrong... as long as you're planting persimmons and protecting them with the best tree tube on the market!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Tree Tubes for Paw Paw

Growing up and learning my forestry in Minnesota I didn't learned about paw paw (Asimina triloba) until I started selling tree tubes to tree planters in other parts of the country 21 years ago.  Paw paw has a huge native range, from Florida to Nebraska to Michigan, but it doesn't venture into the frozen tundra of my home state.

Paw paw is the largest tree fruit native to North America, and the only temperate member of the tropical Custard Apple family (Annonaceae).  It's taste was originally described to me (and I'm ashamed to say I still haven't tasted one) as, "a more custardy banana."  Others say the flavor is more complex, a mix of papaya, banana, mango and pineapple. Yum.

Once more of a local novelty there is a growing interest in planting and growing paw paw on a commercial basis.

Paw paw grows extremely well in tree tubes, and anyone planting paw paw - whether in hopes of establishing a commercial orchard or just as a hobby - will have enough invested in those trees in time, money and effort to make using tree tubes a no brainer.  They are susceptible to drought and moisture stress, and or course deer browse is an ever-present threat to all new tree plantings these days.

Here's a quote from the Virginia Tech web site linked to above:

"Plastic tree tube shelters (4 to 6 inches in diameter) that are used in reforestation and vineyard plantings work well for protecting the new seedlings from sunlight the first year (Figure 11). A wooden or metal stake should be driven next to the tube to secure it in place. Tubes should be removed by mid-August to allow tissue hardening for winter. Tubes left on trees too long may result in significant winter damage."

Don't let this scare you.  This is a reference to the "bad old days" before vented tree tubes. With today's vented tree tubes, such as the Tubex Combitube Treeshelter we offer at Wilson Forestry Supply, you don't have to worry about winter injury any more and can leave your tree tubes on all winter for additional protection, and more growth the following season.

To learn more about using Wilson Tree Tubes on paw paw, please feel contact us.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Phrase of the day: Seismo Stress

I love learning new botanical and plant physiology terms and understanding how they apply to the science of tree tubes. I have written several posts lately about how today's tree tubes produce saplings that resemble open-grown trees in terms of stem thickness and stem taper, as compared to trees grown in the old, small diameter, unvented tree tubes we used years ago (and, of course, as compared to open-grown trees that get eaten by deer, killed by drought or swarmed under by weeds!).

Three advancements in tree tube design help account for this.

1) Larger diameter tubes - leaves in today's larger tree tubes are able to fully expand and absorb more light; they "think" they are open grown as opposed to compressed in a small diameter tree tube.

2) Vented tree tubes - venting has several advantages, including increased CO2 availability and allowing the tree inside to go dormant for winter to avoid frost damage.  Another advantage is that the air flow through the tubes gently shakes the leaves, "telling" them they are growing in an open field while still giving them the protection and moisture stress reduction of a tree tube.

3) Flexible PVC tree tube stakes - our pvc stakes for tree tubes sway in the wind, and that shaking triggers the production of ethylene, which in turn tells the tree to allocate more of its growth resources to stem thickness and taper.

In researching these posts and looking for a way to explain this phenomenon I came across the term "seismo stress."  I probably learned that term back in plant physiology in forestry school, but since that was a long time ago (before the evolution of angiosperms), I had forgotten it.  In fact I probably forgot it the day after the exam.  If not before.

Seismo of course refers to shaking, in the way that a seismograph measures the amplitude of earthquakes.  Too much shaking induces stress that inhibits growth.  A little bit of shaking (e.g. with a vented tree tube and a pvc stake) encourages a better balance between height growth and stem diameter.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tree Tubes: A Dissenting Opinion?

I often visit web forums where tree planting and tree tubes are discussed.  It gives me more insight into the experiences, likes, dislikes, misconceptions and opinions of tree planters - which in turns helps me provide better instructions, develop better products, and in general provide better service.

Wherever people "meet" to anonymously exchange ideas and opinions you never know what you're going to read.  For example, in a discussion board thread about tree tubes on a well-known gardening/landscaping site I came across this, in reference to tree tubes:

"Nasty plastic litter that spoils the landscape and harms wildlife. Often with the remains of a dead tree in the middle."

I wish people would learn not to sugar coat things and would say what they really mean!  There are actually 4 separate aspects of this post, and I'd like to address each one of them separately:

1) Nasty plastic litter.  Yes, tree tubes are plastic.  And yes, if left too long in the field without removing and disposing of them properly they can indeed become litter.  Part of this has been a learning curve.  Foresters were initially told by overly optimistic tree tube manufacturers that the treeshelter tubes would photodegrade into smaller and small pieces that would eventually turn into an inert power... kind of like fairy dust.  Tree tubes do photodegrade, but we know now that they should be removed and properly disposed of after doing their job.

I'll be doing a carbon footprint post soon - a plastic tree tube made from petroleum products that leads to a successful planting the first time, versus the petroleum needed without tree tubes, to grow new seedlings year after year, to prepare the site year after year, to drive to and from the planting site many more times, etc.

2) Spoils the landscape.  Yes, for a brief period of time when tree tubes are used we are forced to look at a field of vertical plastic tubes.  But this statement fails to take into account two things:  The tree tubes are there for perhaps 5 years out of an 80, 100 or 150 year tree rotation.  And, if not for those tubes the view they are "ruining" would look at lot worse for a lot longer, because it would likely be the subject of repeated efforts to clear, site prep and plant.

3) Harms wildlife. On its face this comment seems ludicrous given that tree tubes are helping to create - and re-create - millions of acres of wildlife habitat. They are an integral and necessary component in restoring such wildlife-sustaining trees as the mighty American chestnut in the face of historically high deer populations, hundreds of invasive weed competitors, and in the absence of the climatic conditions and periodic fires that allowed many hardwood trees to get established in the past.  At the "tubular" level this comment might be referring to the tendency of some cavity nesting songbirds, such as bluebirds, to enter tubes - possibly searching for a new nesting site, possibly chasing insects, possibly for shelter, or possibly by accident - and become trapped.  This is why all tree tube suppliers provide plastic mesh caps to place over the top of the tubes until the trees emerge, after which birds no longer enter the tubes.  So to the extent that this was ever a problem, there is now an easy solution.  I'll say it again:  No other tree establishment tool or practice has done more to establish critical wildlife habitat than tree tubes.

4) Often with the remains of a dead tree in the middle.  Over last 21 years I have noticed something interesting in people's perceptions of tree planting success.  Imagine there is a field in which 300 oak seedlings are planted.  The forester decides to use treeshelters on 100 of them.  Now imagine that this planting is in an area with a white tailed deer density of about 40 per square mile, not uncommon in the eastern USA, that there is a drought the summer after the seedlings are planted, followed by a wet year.

Now imagine that you are visiting that site three years later, without knowing how many trees were planted.  What would you find, and what would you think?  You might find a handful of oak trees that survived and grew to waist or chest height without tubes, and you might think, "See, these trees didn't need tree tubes."  And you might look in the tubes and find perhaps 10 or even 20 dead trees.  You might conclude that the tree tubes are an unnecessary  eyesore. 

But in reality, what are you really seeing?  A handful of trees that survived without tubes means that the vast majority did not - killed by drought, eaten by dear or out-competed by weeds.  If all 300 trees had been planted without tree tubes that planting would have been a failure. Tree tubes draw people's attention and scrutiny - they generally walk past (or on) dozens of dead un-tubed seedlings to look down a tube and see how the tree is doing.

10 or 20 dead trees in the tubes means there were 80 or 90 living ones.  And that number likely could have been higher with today's better planting stock and with more aggressive weed control by the planter.  80 or 90 high value oak stems per acre looks an awful lot like success in my book.

Part of this person's opinion - and it's not an uncommon one - is based on the misconception that the project would be as successful, or more successful, without tree tubes.  That would be true,

> if we could go back in time to when there where 500,000 deer east of the Mississippi (instead of 500,000 deer harvested by hunters in WI each year without decreasing the overall size of the herd)

> if we could go back in time to when fire - either wildfires or those set intentionally by indigenous people to manage vegetative cover - helped oaks and other trees gain a competitive advantage over grasses

> if we could go back in time to before hundreds of invasive species of grasses, shrubs, vines and trees started competing with our seedlings from resources

We are not planting trees into a "natural" world, and so we need to use "unnatural" means in order to achieve success. If that means putting up with seeing a "plastic forest" for a few years to get those trees established I think that's not a bad trade off.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Science Behind Vented Tree Tubes: Air Flow Increases Stem Diameter

For me today is a day for feeling old.  Not only have I been working with tree tubes for nearly 22 years, I just learned that one of my best customers was born the year I graduated from high school; I had already been working at garden centers and as a freelance landscaper for 2 years before he was born, thinking about better ways of planting oak trees into the landscape.

But with age comes experience, and with experience comes - hopefully - wisdom.  One area in which the entire forestry community has more wisdom than we did 22 years ago is in tree tube design and function.

Back in the early days - the stone age - of tree tubes in the USA we all thought that a treeshelter should be an air-tight chamber; unventilated with the base pushed into the soil.  We all dreaded the idea of a "chimney effect" of air movement in the tube, fearing that it would overheat or over-dry the seedling inside.

How wrong we were!  Nowadays there is a large and growing body of research that shows that vented tree tubes 1) increase overall growth and 2) result in a better distribution of growth - you get a larger tree with similar allocation of growth between height, stem diameter and roots as an un-tubed tree.

Here is a great page summarizing the current body of research on vented tree tubes.

With every passing year we learn more about how to use tree technology to produce trees with a growth allocation that more closely approximates that of open grown trees.  Of course there is one BIG difference between a tree grown in a Wilson Tree Tube by Tubex and an open grown tree:  One is still alive, and one was eaten by deer!

So while I've been at this tree tube thing for a long time, it's exciting to see how far we've come, and to think about how much there is still to learn.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Tree Tube Video Instructions

Scott Berta of Tree Protection Supply (southeastern marketing partner for Tubex Tree Tubes) has several excellent instructional videos about Tree Tubes posted on youtube:

The ease & importance of applying herbicides around trees in tree tubes

The importance of pruning seedlings to a single stem before applying tree tubes

Direct seeding acorns, chestnuts and walnuts in tree tubes

If you have any questions about how to use tree tubes to achieve your planting goals, please don't hesitate to contact Scott Berta or Chris Siems to learn more.

Sportman's Group Discount On Wilson Tree Tubes

Sportsmen planting trees to improve habitat for wild turkeys, white tailed deer and other game species are doing the "heavy lifting" of creating habitat for the wildlife that everyone treasures and enjoys - game species and non-game species alike.

Hunters also plant tree species that are extremely valuable (Chinese chestnut, hybrid oaks), heavily browsed by deer (crabapples, persimmons, pears, apples) and which they want to bear fruit and nuts very quickly (sawtooth oak, Nuttall oak)... and they of course they are planting those trees into areas rich with wildlife that will eat the seedlings without waiting for them to grow old enough to bear fruit.

In other words, hunters need and use tree tubes at a very high level.  And they are generally footing the bill from their own pocket.

At Wilson Forestry Supply, we want to help those efforts every way we can - and help hunters get more "bang" for their tree planting "buck."  One way to help is to offer discounts on Tree Tubes to members of National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA), and other sportsman's organizations

To learn more, contact Chris Siems for more details.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wilson Tree Tubes For American Chestnut

Many people know the story of the American chestnut tree, but sadly many more people don't.  It is one part tragedy, one part farce, ten parts dedication and hopefully, ultimately, 100 parts triumph.

Chestnut blight is a fungal disease that was accidentally introduced to the USA from Asia in about 1900.  Several species of Asian chestnuts had co-evolved with the blight fungus, and were resistant.  The American chestnut - a towering, majestic tree that dominated the forests of Appalachia and much of the eastern USA - had virtually no inherent resistance.  Within 50 years more than 3 billion American chestnut trees were dead.  (We'll never know the degree to which the American chestnut population might have had some innate resistance to chestnut blight; as the disease ripped through the eastern hardwood forest landowners were instructed by foresters to cut down all of their chestnut trees, on the assumption that they were all doomed, to salvage the lumber value.  The fact that a small number of American chestnut trees did survive the blight, and the fact that in large populations a certain number of individuals almost always survive even the worst epidemics, leads us to believe that there would have been thousands of survivors that could have formed the basis of a breeding program to restore a pure American chestnut to the woods.  Such an effort is underway thanks to an incredibly dedicated group of folks, but still we wonder what might have been if those chestnuts had been left standing to determine which could withstand the blight.)

The American Chestnut Foundation was founded by, among others, four brilliant men with - I'm proud to say - Minnesota connections:  Charles Burnham, Philip Rutter, David French and Donald Willeke.  The plight of the American chestnut was thought by most to be hopeless.  These men had other ideas, and under Burnham's guidance initiated a bold and far-reaching plan:  Adapt the precepts of the traditional "back cross" breeding done in other fields of agriculture to the American chestnut.

In other words, cross-breed the American chestnut with blight resistance Asian chestnuts, and then continue to back-cross the most blight resistant of these offspring with American chestnuts.  The goal, of course, is to produce trees that gain the disease resistance genes of the Asian chestnuts, while maintaining and exhibiting the physical characteristics of the might American chestnut.

That process is several generations down the road, and the results are incredibly exciting and promising.  I stand in bewildered awe of the dedication of the American Chestnut Foundation and its head plant breeder/farm manager Fred Hebbard.

At the same time there are other ways to restore the American chestnut.  The aforementioned American Chestnut Cooperators Foundation, whose goal is to breed a blight-resistant tree that is 100% American chestnut in its genetics by working with the few chestnuts that survived the onslaught, the dedicated folks who are working with hypovirulent strains of the fungus in hopes of stopping the blight in its tracks as happened in Europe, and the amazing people who are applying genetic engineering to create chestnut trees capable of fighting off the fungus.

I salute you all.

And here at Wilson Forestry Supply we hope, at least in our own small way, to help in any way we can.  Our Tubex Combitube Tree Tube is ideally suited for use on American chestnut seedlings or direct seeded chestnuts.  Large diameter vented tree tubes have proven to be the best choice for American chestnuts.

If you are planting American chestnut trees this spring, give us a call.  We offer special discount pricing to all of the dedicated folks working to restore the American chestnut to its rightful place in our eastern forests.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Why Pay For Tree Tubes You Don't Need?

This is another in our series on the hidden costs of some tree tubes.

In the movie Father of the Bride Steve Martin had a famous - and hilarious - grocery store melt-down trying to purchase a quantity of hot dog buns that matched the quantity of hot dogs.

Every year tree planters across the country shopping online for tree tubes must have similar melt-downs, trying to purchase a quantity of tree tubes that matches the number of trees they are planting.

Say you are planting 32 trees.  Most tree tube companies force you to purchase 50 tree tubes, so you're paying for - and paying to ship - 18 tree tubes you don't want or need.

Not at Wilson Forestry Supply.  If you need 32 tree tubes you can order 32 tree tubes.  You can do this two ways:

1) Our website, is set up to sell our tree tubes in bundles of 25 (although that will change soon).  In the meantime, we are delighted to take your orders for "oddball" quantities by email or over the phone.  Just contact our tree tube expert Chris Siems and he'll be happy to help!

2) If you do prefer to order online we have three partner companies whose web sites do handle sales of 17 or 42 or 913 tubes:

> Tree tubes from Tree Protection Supply

> Tree protection packages from Mossy Oak's Nativ Nursery (and while you're there please browse through their seedling selection - not browse like a deer but browse as in shopping ;-)

> Tree tubes from The Wildlife Group (and again while you're there check out their great selection of wildlife habitat trees and shrubs, but remember:  "wildlife trees" means deer love them, twigs and all, and deer are not smart enough to leave them alone and let them grow to maturity - every one of these trees is valuable enough and tasty enough to deer to deserve - require - a tree tube!)

Together we'll offer any quantity of tubes you need, and we won't charge you extra to break cases.  And, unlike Steve Martin, you won't end up in jail just for refusing to buy products you don't need just because the manufacturers choose to package them a certain way.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Spring Training For Tree Planters Is Here!

Just as pitchers and catchers are heading to Arizona and Florida for spring training and fans are heating up the hot stove league with speculation about player trades and playoff prospects, the tree tube season is starting to heat up. For many of us it's been a long, cold winter.  Record snowfalls, massive drifts and aching backs from shoveling have been the order of the day.  Spring and tree planting season seems a long way away when the only shoveling you're doing involves mounds of snow instead of deep, loamy soil.

I have been selling tree tubes for more nearly 22 years, and every winter/spring I see the same pattern.  As soon as the temperature in the northern US gets above freezing for a few days and the sun starts melting the icicles, the phone starts ringing and the web site starts buzzing with interest in tree tubes.  (This is usually  followed on my part by the fear that, Holy Toledo, I'm going to run out of tree tubes!  This is especially true this year; inventory is already getting tight, as sales have exceeded my projections.  More treeshelters are on the way, but at the current rate those will be sold by the time they get here.)

So today's advice is:  When you check the newspaper or the web to get updates on your favorite team's Spring Training, take a few extra minutes to order the trees and tree tubes you'll need for spring planting.

As for winter, we all know we're not out of the woods yet.  More February and March snow storms are coming.  Here in Minnesota the biggest ones always seem to coincide with the high basketball state tournaments.  But those blizzards - and all that additional shoveling - will be a lot easier to take knowing that you have all of the materials you need for a successful spring tree planting reserved and ready!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Nurseries On Board

Many of my posts have been about how there has been a sea change in the acceptance of tree tubes over the past few years; how they are standard operating procedure for successful tree planting.  One way this has become evident is in the number of high quality tree seedling nurseries that offer - and highly recommend - tree tubes to their customers.

That's a change from the past.  When tree tubes were first introduced to the USA in the late 1980's nurseries were generally slow to embrace the technology.  There were several reasons for this.  One reason was that, for a nursery, offering treeshelters to its customers meant openly discussing the "elephant in the room" that everyone knew was there but no one want to discuss:  The high level of deer browse, and the likelihood that the seedlings customers planted would get browsed off.  It really wasn't a matter of nurseries thinking that deer browse would mean that customers would keep buying more trees to replace those that were eaten; all nurseries want their customers to be successful.  It was more a matter of nurseries worrying that openly discussing the threat of deer browse and recommending tree tubes as the solution would 1) discourage people from planting trees in the first place, and 2) would drive the cost of tree planting past what people were willing to spend.

Fast forward to 2011 and many things have changed:

1)  The population density - and therefore the severity of deer browse - has done nothing but get worse.  The elephant in the room has become the blue whale in the room!

2)  There is now a much more widespread understanding - on the part of foresters, county conservation districts, and private landowners - that simply planting trees and walking away is a recipe for failure.  When you compare the cost of tree tubes to just planting trees, they seem like an expensive added cost.  When you compare the cost of tree tubes to what you would have to do without them to have a successful project, then you realize that tree tubes actually save you money over the long haul.

3)  Today's tree nurseries are producing planting stock that is light years better than the seedlings that were grown 20 years ago.  New root pruning pots and other advancements mean that the seedlings you get from many of today's nurseries are supercharged for optimal growth.  The nurseries have more invested in producing these great seedlings, and the thought of sending them out unprotected to the field to be exposed to the ravages of deer browse and doubt is unacceptable.  And the customers who purchase them, wisely making the decision to spend a little more on top-notch planting stock with known superior genetics, also wisely make the decision to protect those seedlings with tree tubes.

Two of the very best nurseries producing seedlings for enhancing wildlife habitat have partnered with Wilson Forestry Supply to offer Tubex Combitube Tree Tubes:  Mossy Oak's Nativ Nurseries of West Point, MS and The Wildlife Group of Tuskegee, AL. 

The test of how strongly these great nurseries feel about our tree tubes?  1) When they plant trees on their own properties they never do so without our tree tubes.  2) The both tell their customers:  If you have a certain budget for your project it's better to reduce the number of trees you plant and cover them with tree tubes.  3) Both will tell people in no uncertain terms:  If you plant trees without tree tubes with today's deer densities and invasive weeds and grasses you are wasting your time (which means you are also wasting the blood, sweat and tears they put into raising those trees).

It's an exciting time.  After years and years spent trying to convince folks to use tree tubes, that argument has been won.  Now the only question is:  Which tree tube?  And when you're the US source of Tubex Combitube Treeshelters, you also feel very good about the answer to that question as well!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Tree Tubes For Black Walnut - Finally, A Perfect Fit

When plastic tree tubes made the leap "across the pond" from the UK and became commercially available in the USA in 1989, many of the first customers were black walnut growers.

It made perfect sense:  Eastern black walnut produces extremely high value veneer lumber, but can suffer from low initial survival rates and its seedlings are a favorite of deer.  Black walnut growers often paid premium prices for planting stock with known superior genetics; all the more reason to protect their investment with tree tubes.

And while only the most unrealistic of these planters ever hoped to live to see these trees grow large enough to harvest in their lifetime, they all hoped to see those trees well established and on their way to maturity before leaving them as a legacy to their descendants. 

There was only one problem:  Growers quickly realized that from Missouri on north, black walnut seedlings did not harden off properly for winter inside the unvented tree tubes sold at that time.  We learned over time that if the tree emerged from the tube by about August 1st it would generally have enough exposure to ambient conditions to harden off for winter.  If it didn't emerge from the tube until after that date, or didn't emerge from the tube at all the first year, it stayed active and growing too deep into the autumn and would suffer die back after the first hard frost.  It didn't kill the tree; it would resprout from close to the ground the following year and very quickly grow up through the tube.  Ultimately the tree would emerge from the tube early enough in the season to harden off properly for winter.

Unfortunately, by that time many black walnut growers had grown frustrated with tree tubes and stopped using them.

A short term "fix" was discovered through trial and error.  It was learned that if you elevate the base of the tube an inch or two off the ground on Labor Day the air flow through the tube would induce dormancy and would prevent die back.  Of course it would also expose the base of the tree to rodents, at a time of year when rodents are actively seeking food and shelter.  This solution was more like a "patch" software designers come up with while truly fixing the problem in the next version of the software.

Well, the next version of tree tubes - Tree Tubes 2.0 - is here: Vented Tree Tubes.  Vented tree tubes have solved the die back problem with black walnut, chestnut and all other trees where it was a problem.

Black walnut growers were correct to view treeshelters as the ideal solution to their problems.  It just took a little while for tree tube technology to catch up, and for tree tube designers to introduce version 2.0 instead of simply offering a patch.

So if you are planting black walnut seedlings, grafts, or direct seeded nuts, don't plant without our Tubex Combitube Treeshelters.  Your trees - your legacy - deserves nothing less.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

5 Foot Tree Tubes Coming Soon to Wilson Forestry Supply

A frequently asked question has been:  Does Wilson Forestry Supply offer 5 foot Tubex Combitube Tree Tubes?  I'm happy to be able to say:  We will soon!

4 foot tree tubes are still the most popular size, and get the job done in the majority of situations.  Most tree planters are best served by 4 foot tree tubes - moderate cost, excellent deer browse protection, and if deer nip a few emerging shoots a couple of treatments of Deer Guard repellent are enough to get the terminal shoot past the browse line.

However, sometimes a 5 foot tree tube can make all the difference - that extra one foot of deer browse protection is needed to get the trees past the browse line.

The need for 5 foot tree tubes is primarily drive by the population density of whitetail deer.  The more deer per square mile, the heavier the pressure on available sources of food.  The more pressure on food sources the more deer are forces to reach higher to get the food they need - to the point of standing on their hind legs.

So if your spring project calls for 5 foot tubes, don't worry, we have them on the way.  Don't order from somewhere else until you contact us for a low price on 5ft tree tubes!

Tree Tubes: Yes, Time Does = Money

In recent posts, we've been looking at the hidden costs of tree tubes.  In the last post we looked at shipping costs, and how with certain tree tubes you have to use a longer stake to compensate for a flimsier tube.

In this post I want to look at time.  Professional tree planting contractors, for whom time literally does equal money, universally prefer the Tubex Treeshelter design.  There's a little more up-front cost that some other tree tubes, but they save 22.73% on installation time (approximately!). Why?

1) They come ready-to-install, already in circular shape
2) The ties are pre-threaded and looped - all you have to do is cinch them tight around the stake

Sometimes private landowners and hobbyists doing their own tree planting work think, "I have a limited budget and I'm not paying myself per hour to install tree tubes, so I might as well save money on the tubes and spend a little more time installing them."

Even if, in a literal sense, your time does not equal money (in other words, you're doing this on your "free" time) this line of thinking doesn't work.

First, keep in mind that there is ALWAYS something else you could be doing with your time.  Extra time spent installing lower cost treeshelter tubes is time that you're not doing weed control, pruning, fertilizing, or other activities that contribute to the success of your project.

Second, chances are that the very aspects of the lower cost tree tubes that make made them cost less in the first place are aspects that will require much more maintenance down the road... and more time on your part.  For example, if a tube ships flat it must then be formed into a tube in the field.  If it was made flat, it is probably a flimsier design that can either revert to a flat shape or bend or buckle in the field, requiring additional work on your part to reshape, cinch up ties, etc... and again that's time you could be spending doing something more productive.

So even if you are a private landowner planting trees on your own time and on your own dime, time still equals money.  So many things go into making your tree planting project a success, and your time - while perhaps not valued in dollars - is extremely limited.  Any money you save on tree tubes that take longer to install and require more maintenance will be lost if you get behind in weed control and other activities critical to the success of your trees.

Thanks for reading, and as always to learn more please visit us a

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

When Shopping For Tree Tubes, Watch For Hidden Costs!

When shopping the internet for tree tubes for tree seedling protection, be sure to watch out for hidden costs - costs you can't see right away but which can dramatically affect the total cost of your tree planting project. 

In this post we'll cover two of these hidden costs:

1) Tree tube stake length:  With our Tubex Combitube Treeshelters, you can use a 4  foot stake with a 4 foot treeshelter.  When you drive the stake into the soil, the tube is rigid enough so that the part rising above the stake won't buckle in the wind.

For some tree tubes which are less sturdy, you might need a 5ft stake for a 4ft tube, so very little of the tube extends above the driven stake.  Otherwise, these pliable tubes would bend and fold over the top of the stake.

An extra foot of stake length means that the stake costs more of course, but also means it costs more to ship it as well.

2) Shipping and "handling" is another of the hidden costs when buying tree tubes.  Make sure you are comparing the full delivered price of a given tree tube, including tax, shipping and "handling."  Some companies post low online prices, but try to make it up with higher shipping fees.

As always, if you have any questions about Wilson Forestry Supply tree tubes, please don't hesitate to contact us.